Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Kenya is likely to lose her European Union (EU) market share of French beans to Morocco and Guatemala due to high cost of production, exporters have warned. Favoured by efficient production factors, the two countries are said to have grown their market share almost edging out Kenya, a situation that might be disastrous to local farmers. Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) new CEO Hosea Machuki said Kenya is grappling with high production and freight cost coupled with overpricing despite producing high quality beans. Morocco, he said, though produces mainly bobby beans that are considered of lower value as compared to Kenyan products that are usually premium class has expanded her market share in EU owing to aggressive marketing and its proximity.

As a company focused on its customers, and one that is expanding in Africa, it was natural for Aller Aqua to support World Aquaculture 2017 the first time it takes place in Africa. Since Aller Aqua was established, focus has been on the customers and what the company could do to help them achieve maximum output from their fish farms. Implementing costumer focus as one of the company values has enabled Aller Aqua to achieve continued growth, first in Europe, then Asia and now Africa. World Aquaculture 2017 is sponsored by Aller Aqua, and puts a spotlight on Africa.

The Agriculture Sector in OECS Member States is on the brink of a new era in collaborative production for regional and international trade. A comprehensive grouping of regional agriculture stakeholders, which include Ministers, Manufacturers, Traders, representatives from the Bureau of Standards and the OECS Commission, are working together to ensure the success of the initiative. The virtual OECS Agri-Export Working group began in June of 2016 and, only one year later, has seen many achievements due to the influence and reach of the agricultural stakeholders involved, paired with the technological nature of the ongoing online meeting, which facilitates speedy action and decision making. Main achievements of the Agri-Export Initiative to date include:

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

China stands ready to further cooperate with Mali in its agricultural and industrial development, with a view to helping the West African nation establish an industrial system, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Sunday. Meanwhile, China will also help Mali to nurture capacities in the three major areas of infrastructure construction, human resources, and peace and security. These efforts are aimed at allowing the country to strengthen its capability for independent development and realize economic independence after it had achieved political independence, Wang said during talks with his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana is working with stakeholders to have the ban on vegetable exports to the European Union lifted in the next three months. That’s the assurance from the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto. The ban was imposed on some vegetables exported to the EU as a result of the failure of exporters to meet international quality standards. The ban was placed by the food and veterinary Office of the European Commission for some vegetables mainly pepper, egg plant, and gourds. This was attributed to several interceptions due to the presence of harmful organisms in exported produce.

The African Development Bank has approved a US $100- million facility to finance Export Trading Group (ETG’s) soft commodity value chain operations in sub-Saharan Africa. This Soft Commodity Finance Facility (SCFF) is one of the core Trade Finance instruments in the Bank, innovatively structured to provide pre- and post-shipment finance along various stages of ETG’s commodity value chain operations in the 17 countries expected to benefit from the initiative. This intervention will help local farmers and soft commodity suppliers grow their revenues and produce quality crops for export.

Official potato trial seed sent to Kenya has passed initial lab tests and is now growing well in three locations. AHDB and SASA have been working together to open the Kenyan market to GB seed with a bilateral agreement signed by the Scottish and Kenyan governments late last year. Since then, there has been a significant amount of work behind the scenes to transport, test and plant seed on Kenyan farms. AHDB’s Head of Crops Export Market Development, Rob Burns, explains: “Before commercial growers can access the market, trial seed needs to be tested and grown over two seasons in at least three geographical locations in Kenya. Fortunately in Kenya there are two growing seasons annually so we hope to reach the end of this process, and open up the market fully, by early 2018.

The focus is currently on the failed Navel crop in this South African citrus import season. "At the moment, this has meant a loss of 100% of the export volume for some farmers in the Eastern Cape. In the Western Cape, 25 - 30% of the product has been lost. Overall, it has been a traumatic event for growers, whose fruit lies split on the ground", says Tjeerd Hoekstra, Commercial Manager of Total Produce Rotterdam.All this is ensuring good prices for oranges from overseas, with other citrus products are also priced well. "There are fewer grapefruits being sent, and this reflects in the prices. Prices have been good since the beginning of the season and with a level of between 17 and 19 cents, remains on the high side", says Tjeerd.

Exporters in Togo have sold a quarter-million dollars' worth of soybeans to new customers in Vietnam and the Netherlands, after International Trade Centre advisory services helped them improve their trade-related corporate procedures and strike deals with buyers. Agriculture is critically important for incomes and food security in the West African country, where 41% of the population works in the sector. Diversification into soybean production helps to provide the country with a measure of insurance against yield and price volatility for traditional crops like cotton, cacao and coffee.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Post-Crisis Response to Food and Nutrition Insecurity Project was on Thursday launched in The Gambia at a hotel in Senegambia. The US$11.4 million project seeks to support the fight against malnutrition among children under two years in four administrative regions namely; North Bank Region, Lower River Region, Central River Region and Upper River Region through targeted interventions focusing on food insecure households. In her remarks, Saffie Lowe-Ceesay, the minister of Health and Social Welfare has stated that the under-nutrition is a major public health problem in The Gambia, exacerbated by increasing poverty levels and food insecurity, poor coverage of nutrition interventions, poor dietary habits, poor sanitation and hygiene and increased burden.